California Officials Could Use Campaign Funds for Security Amid Threats

California Officials Could Use Campaign Funds for Security Amid Threats

In a concerning development, California officials are now considering the use of campaign funds to enhance their personal security measures due to the increasing number of threats they face. Assemblywoman Mia Bonta has spearheaded a bill that seeks to expand the permissible use of campaign funds, allowing officials to invest in home security systems or hire bodyguards for themselves, their families, or their staff. The bill, known as Assembly Bill 37, also removes the cap on these expenses and enables candidates and elected officials to retain security even after their term in office concludes. This measure comes as a response to a rise in political violence and personal attacks against politicians, exemplified by the attempted kidnapping of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the countless threats endured by Bonta herself. It is a sad reality that elected officials are increasingly targeted, and this bill seeks to provide them with the necessary means to protect themselves and their loved ones.

California Officials Could Use Campaign Funds for Security Amid Threats

Introduction to the Issue

In an unfortunate reality of today’s political climate, elected officials in California are facing an increasing number of threats and acts of violence. To address this alarming trend and provide better protection for incumbent and aspiring elected officials, Assemblywoman Mia Bonta, D-Alameda, has authored Assembly Bill 37. This bill, which has been passed by the California legislature, aims to allow the use of campaign funds for security measures such as home security systems and bodyguards for elected officials, their families, or their staff. However, the bill still requires the approval of Governor Gavin Newsom before it becomes law.

Assembly Bill 37: The Proposed Solution

Assembly Bill 37 seeks to expand the eligibility for the use of campaign funds for security and remove the $5,000 cap that was put in place three decades ago. The bill also addresses the need for continued security even after a campaign or term in office concludes, as long as there is a verified threat by law enforcement. Additionally, candidates and elected officials would be required to disclose these security expenses as part of their campaign expenditures.

Expanding Eligibility and Removing Cap

Assembly Bill 37 aims to broaden the scope of individuals who are eligible to use campaign funds for security purposes. By removing the $5,000 cap that has been in place for thirty years, elected officials will have more flexibility in ensuring their safety and the safety of their families and staff. This expansion is necessary in light of the increasing threats and acts of violence faced by politicians in today’s volatile political environment.

Retaining Security After a Campaign or Term

One of the unique aspects of Assembly Bill 37 is its provision for allowing candidates and elected officials to retain security measures even after a campaign or term in office concludes. This provision acknowledges that threats can persist beyond the political arena and aims to provide continuous protection for individuals who have been targeted. However, the continuation of security would only be permitted if there is a verified threat confirmed by law enforcement.

Requirement of Expense Disclosure

To ensure transparency and accountability, Assembly Bill 37 includes a requirement for candidates and elected officials to disclose their security expenses as part of their campaign expenditures. This measure aims to promote ethical conduct and prevent misuse of campaign funds for personal purposes. By mandating disclosure, the bill aims to maintain public trust and confidence in the political system.

Motivations Behind the Bill

Assemblywoman Mia Bonta’s decision to introduce Assembly Bill 37 stems from the alarming increase in political violence experienced across the country. She witnessed candidates she admired facing hate and intimidation, which compelled her to take action to better protect elected officials. The bill seeks to address this rising trend of political violence and provide elected officials with the necessary resources to ensure their safety.

Alarming Increase in Political Violence

The recent increase in political violence, including high-profile incidents such as the home invasion and attempted kidnapping of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, highlights the urgent need for improved security measures. Assembly Bill 37 acknowledges this concerning reality and aims to give elected officials the means to protect themselves, their families, and their staff from potential harm.

Personal Experiences of Threats and Harassment

Assemblywoman Bonta herself has firsthand experience of the dangers faced by elected officials. Her family has received numerous threats, and she has personally witnessed the impact of violent and harassing political speech. These personal experiences have shaped her understanding of the importance of protecting those who choose to serve in public office and have driven her to advocate for improved security measures.


Assembly Bill 37 represents a significant step forward in addressing the growing threats and acts of violence against elected officials in California. By expanding the eligibility for the use of campaign funds for security and removing the outdated cap, the bill ensures that elected officials can access the necessary resources to protect themselves and their families. The provision for retaining security after a campaign or term in office further acknowledges the persistence of threats. Through the requirement of expense disclosure, the bill promotes transparency and accountability in the use of campaign funds. Assembly Bill 37 is a crucial measure to safeguard the safety and well-being of those who choose to serve the public in elected office.

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